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Turning The Big 2-9 (7/17/13)

BY KATIE UHLAENDER

This is my nephew, Wesley Scott Uhlaender. He is awesome!
2013 skeleton world championships
Competing at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Weightlifting

On July 17, 2013, I turn 29, which I never thought much about until it got closer. Kate Hudson put it this way in “Something Borrowed”: “You’re 30 — you can’t afford to be picky.” Lily Allen sings it thus: “She’s nearly 30 now and…society says her life is already over.” Does this also mean it’s the end of fun (at least without being judged for it)?

I have been so focused on the Olympics for the last 10 years. When I started at 19 years old, 30 seemed ions away and I assumed I would be so awesome by then it wouldn’t matter. I don’t know what kind of awesome I thought that’d be, but figured it was so far away I wouldn’t worry about it. I swore up and down that I didn’t want kids. But 90 percent of the time for girls out there, that decision will change! I remember the moment exactly. I was in denial as soon as it happened, because it actually scared me! I would never become a MOM! I was in the airport leaving from visiting my brother in Austin, and suddenly this toddler runs past me and does this cute baby jog onto his bum once he lost his balance. In that moment this feeling came over me; it was the exact feeling I had when saw a puppy and then felt the overwhelming desire to get a puppy! But wait, this was a baby! Fear filled my chest once I had realized I wanted one, but after talking it over with some friends I realized being a mom was one of the coolest things you could do.

Which brings me to a lot of social peer pressures that are starting to come at me as I approach the end of my life — 30! The pressures of wanting a family, being established in a career, etc., and I don’t even have a boyfriend or what most people would call a “real” job! All the fun I’m having being a full time headfirst slider (doing skeleton) and weightlifter seem a bit more serious now. It’s no longer something I just do, and will have something to do later. It is what I’m doing now. This is my career, and after it is over I want my future children to be able to look up to me and be proud as I have been with my parents. Representing my country, getting a college degree while competing (still working on it!), and taking the time to now see it’s not just about me and what I do but what legacy is left behind.

I hope to inspire others to follow their heart and dreams by seeing someone else with the courage and faith to do so. My father was my foundation to everything I know, and I only hope to live up to his legacy and continue it through my steps as an athlete and, eventually, as a mother. I guess it’s true: things do change as you approach 30 but it’s not a failure by not fulfilling my juvenile expectations or my life being over because I’m approaching 30. It’s the realization that expectations mean nothing, and that every day counts toward an overall goal. You realize what you do in life has purpose, which can make it scary in then moving forward knowing you have choices and those choices count. They hold value, and the road “there” never turns out the way we intended 90 percent of the time. Most of us don’t know where “there” is, but it’s the fact that we don’t quit and keep faith in the process. The Lord’s plan for us is not meant to be understood; we are meant to follow him blindly like children. To me that means following my heart despite how illogical it is.

Turning 29 is scary, because you finally realize how your decisions can affect the rest of your life, but I’ve also realized not to panic and follow my heart and, in turn, God’s plan. I have faith it will all come together, because I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing and I know my father would be proud of me. I just can’t wait to become the most awesome coach of all time and raise super-babies! (Meaning I’m going to coach my future children, but I’m open to other job offers in the mean time! For now I hope to become one awesome mom after my athletic career). Go USA!